Thursday, June 25, 2009

France, Japan & Poland? Must be my birthday!

My birthday this year wasn't as well thought out or planned as I'd usually do. I decided I'd rather let someone else sort it out so I did, and it was fantastic!
I woke to french toast and irish cream coffee - breakfast in bed with Travis! He gave me a card with a beautiful, simple message and a stunning pair of brilliant cut diamond earrings - he chose them to match my engagement ring...
then I unwrapped Michelle's and Dad's gifts, yes the postpaks that have been staring me down for a few days, and was thrilled to find a nightie and matching socks, sweets, slippers, cuddling salt and pepper shakers, a pocket book of inspirational quotes and some cash! I opened many thoughtful birthday cards as well.
Arriving at work, it wasn't long before a lovely bunch of flowers - purple orchids, ivy seeds and orange tulips arrived from Joanne and Olimpia, with another card full of beautiful words.
I raced to the jewellery shop at GPO to change my earrings to a more modest size, then met Kate for lunch at the Oriental Tea House - we gorged ourselves on 8 different dishes - including chocolate dumplings for dessert - in less than 45 minutes!
Arriving at home, Trav had a cup of tea ready for me and we changed for dinner before Kate, Mum and Egan arrived. Lee had passed on a cute little pen with diamontes around it that clips onto my keys or bag.
Kate proudly presented me with THE ORANGE BAG - yes - 3 perfectly wrapped parcels from T2! Not one but two sets of multiple tea cannisters, a beautiful ceramic teapot with 2 cups and of course a box of rose tea - which we had enjoyed with our lunch.

Borsch Vodka Tears in Chapel st was where we found Uncle Les and James, and we all pored over the lengthy vodka menu and selected a range of antipasto and tapas for dinner. The service was a bit slow and the place was noisy, but the food was terrific and there was an exciting atmosphere. I tried a rosemary, honey and herb vodka. Then a Pleasant Street Tea (turkish apple tea, pomegranate molasses and honey vodka served hot), an Apple Pie (vodka, green apple juice and cinnamon) -' just like cold Compote' I said to Mum, and finally enjoyed a Winter Romance vodka - with Rose and Wild Forest Flowers.
Mum had baked a delicious Sticky Pear chocolate pudding drizzled with a brown sugar and butter sauce and I got the traditional Happy Birthday serenade.
Uncle Les likes my plan for Dad's 60th, I think he appreciated the long notice I gave him. He walked out of a Job Network training course after 4 days and hasn't had any luck with other applications. I offered to take a look at his resume but he didn't seem keen. He never seems quite alright to be honest.
James is closer to buying the elusive Corvette which currently presides in Adelaide, Kate is on her way to QLD for the weekend and Egan was a trooper - he drove us around and has to be at work at 5am tomorrow!
When we got home I unwrapped Mum's basket of goodies, finding movie tickets, trail mix, memories of the rose Troilus and the variegated jasmine she tracked down for me - as well as membership to the VHS and some cash for tennis.

I spoke briefly to Dad and Michelle and it was the most brilliant day - I couldn't have planned it better myself!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Weekend Passion

For the last 4 weeks, I've been part of a fabulous team at PassionFoods - I am super excited to work there every week and be surrounded by wonderful staff, customers and of course products!!

Today was extra special - I rode my bike there and back! 35 mins, 8.5 kms. Rode home in the wet and dark. I was a bit apprehensive about it as I watched the light dim over the last 2hours at work, but I'm so glad I did it!

I also got a touching compliment on my extra sparkly engagement ring!

I saw this wall on my way through Yarraville yesterday and had to go back and capture it. Looks to me like summer is still holding on...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another world

I love the way our chandelier appears to preside over our outdoor table. It looks like there may be another world going on out there...

Almost perfect...

I try not to believe in the word perfect. But some things come pretty close. Like sharing the sunset on Four Mile Beach with Travis on our 5th Anniversary.

Today was almost perfect too. I woke early, teared through my to-do list including a ride to highpoint to pick up my repaired purple bag, and my try-out of the Pashley - VERY VERY NICE (I just need to pick a colour now).

Sometimes you may have things planned so carefully, to be changed at the last minute - out of your hands. I had one of those moments this morning, Deborah called to say she was unwell - I told her not to worry about dinner tonight.
I made the lasagne anyway and Rossi (our prodigal son) and I spent a glorious evening on the couch together watching Charlotte Gray. It was warm, cosy, comfortable. It was almost perfect...

Friday, June 19, 2009

10 years of unmarried bliss

Yesterday Travis and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary and enjoyed another fabulous meal at Sirens in Williamstown.

For me the lead up has been quite eerie this year – possibly because there was no anticipation of a proposal – possibly because I knew we wouldn’t be doing anything too amazing considering our getaway to Port Douglas earlier this year, and our wedding next year. Possibly because we didn’t take annual leave as we have in the past.

The morning was quiet – there was no water in the taps and Trav was checking for iPhone updates. The day was also uneventful, except for a delicious lunch at The Deck with Kate – needless to say there was no brooch to be found but the glass of wine felt like pure indulgence for lunchtime on a work day!

Trav was checking out bikes at Beasley after work and we missed each other on the way home.

Finally we arrived at Sirens together, the fire was burning and we got a nice spot next to the window. We could see lights dancing in crazy lines across the water – a taste of things to come this time next year!

It was such an enjoyable evening – we weren’t rushed, we both enjoyed 3 whole courses (well I did my very best!) and we began to plan our mini honeymoon. We had the opportunity for a quick walk around Thala Beach Lodge in March – it’s an eco resort with lots of private rainforest, a private beach, a beautiful restaurant with views to the sea and stunning landscaping. Trav had in mind that we’d spend a couple of nights there before returning home. I suggested Cape Tribulation and they both seem very similar, maybe we can do a day trip to Cape Trib while still in town then head out to Thala.

Sounds so perfect – private, out of town, secluded, perfect.

Then we discussed the 2011 Europe trip – Trav said he’s really getting used to the idea and thinks we should include Scotland and Poland in our plans. He doesn’t have any family that he knows of but we could perhaps meet some of mine. He’s also keen to do some family history research for his dad’s side of the family. We won’t take a tour – we’ll go it alone and start speaking to friends who have also travelled Europe this way. We’ll create ‘Send us to Europe’ cards to include in the invites for guests who may want to contribute.

It was such an exciting night filled with wonderful plans. We have lots of research to do and I’m looking forward to planning the rest of our life together! Happy 10th Anniversary Babe!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Promise To You

Travis, on the eve of our 10th year together, I feel it’s time to renew a secret promise I made on December 1st last year.

Dear Travis,

This I promise you with my whole heart.

I promise to take good care of our money and our life together.

I will not compromise our well being, financial stability or dream house for the sake of an impulse spending spree, ‘must have’ item or useless eBay purchase. I will treat our money with respect and will appreciate all the hard work behind it. Never again will I hide a purchase from you and I will only purchase something if it’s absolutely justifiable and that I will want to show you. I will not put us in a difficult situation through my own selfishness and every day I will prove myself to be the woman you can trust and rely on as we continue our journey together. I will finally start to feel better about myself.

This is my promise to you.

If you lose something, don’t lose the lesson…

I prefer to learn from every experience. I always believe there is a reason that things happen. I drive myself mad trying to find out what it is sometimes.

When you lose something small, like an earring, you find yourself always looking down at the ground, retracing your movements over and over, sure that at any moment you’ll see a flash of light, and your earring will be returned. This posture gives the impression that you are sad, depressed, forlorn. You also find yourself unscrewing sink drainpipes at 1am in the hope that you’ll find a lost treasure in the S-bend. I would rather walk with my head high and my shoulders back – with confidence.

Is it a coincidence that a thick fog has descended upon Melbourne this week – to match my own foggy head?

My close and trusted friend Tamra visited last night, as I fiddled with my diamond earrings – ensuring they were still there - I explained the loss of my brooch and clearly remember saying ‘at least if I lost it in the house I’d have a better chance of finding it!’ She asked if there was anything that was bothering me – anything that might be left unfinished that could relate to this unfortunate event. She’d planted the seed but at the time I couldn’t recall anything else that was stressing me out.

When she left I went upstairs to get changed, and lo and behold – I was missing an earring. NO! NO! NO! I stood in the bathroom carefully checking all clothes, towels, and surfaces expecting to find it in no time.

Funnily, Tamra had spent the evening telling me about how well her life coaching business was going and how many new clients she’s signed up, whereas I was talking about my disappointment. When I called her at 11pm asking her to check her clothes in case my earring passed to her as we hugged, she told me that when she got home, she’d had another request for her coaching! It seems you really do attract what you put out.

She asked me to think about whether I feel lost about anything, or if I’ve lost something else metaphorically that could provide a clue – she also asked me to trust my intuition – my gut feeling, not my head.

A nervous thought had already begun to unfurl but I didn’t want to share it with her just yet. What if the universe is telling me that I’ve filled my quota – that I have too much and it needs to show me this by removing things from my life.

As I discovered that I’d lost my earring – I was about to put on a pair of brand new PJ’s that I’d picked up for a bargain at DFO on the way home. I stopped and looked at myself. I felt that pang of guilt and remembered my secret promise to Travis just six months earlier. Last weekend Travis made a comment he thought I’d become a closet shopper – with lots of mysterious parcels arriving. I do feel ashamed. It’s needless, pointless stuff. It seems that I have good and bad runs – I will abstain from any shopping/ eBay browsing/ magazines and be confident in my decision to live a less materialistic life for a couple of months, but give me a bit of inspiration – a book or a movie and I will start by going out to purchase one thing – for example a pair of work pants or shoes – and before long I’ve spent several hundred $$$ on new stuff.

When we were talking on Monday night, I confided to Travis that our pending anniversary and my birthday were feeling like nonevents this year. I wasn’t approaching either of them with the same vigor as I have in previous years. I hoped it wasn’t because we were now engaged and the anticipation had subsided, what about the anticipation of our wedding in 12 months?! We haven’t even taken the days off this year–as we usually do. In fact at one point we thought Travis would be at the army on June 18. Trav suggested my nonchalant approach may be because I was preoccupied about my new bicycle?

That made me think – am I spending more time and effort on things that are secondary in my life? For example – last night I just HAD to go to DFO and try to find a woolen vest because my life just would not be complete without it – and I did this knowing that I would probably not be home in time to see Trav before he went off to the army. What would I be feeling had I not seen him ever again? Was that sidestep really worth it?

Travis gave me two wake up calls without even realising. Or maybe he did. And both were very timely indeed.

This latest drama feels like my last warning – what would I lose next if I don’t change something about myself?

Change yourself, Change the world.

Is it fair? I’m starting to believe my behavior has justified this result. I must deserve it. As much as it hurts it’s just stuff.

Maybe it’s a suggestion that I can be as careful as I like but I must not rely on this. Take our cash flow for example, I spent a lot of time creating and fine tuning this spreadsheet that would ensure our continued financial wellbeing and I haven’t updated it for 3 months. It can be hard enough to work out payments a week back, let alone this far back. The longer I get behind the less inclined I am to get stuck in – it’s time to set up a regular timeslot – with treat for courage (wine, coffee, hot chocolate anyone?)

As I write this I’m waiting on 7 parcels to arrive. SEVEN. I’m thinking about returning some of the items. How many clothes do I really need? Isn’t the beauty of the French style I so admire the fact that the women don’t actually have huge wardrobes?

If I return everything will my possessions be returned to me? I’m thinking of doing a very big cleanout and putting lots on eBay.

Whatever happened to my great idea of the frugal lifestyle – one where we don’t make frivolous purchases? I have to dig out that article all about thrift chic. Living lightly?

I tested my theory on Tamra, who suggested “You can never have too much stuff - maybe it's more that you have become a little materialistic and you need to focus more on your relationships with people rather than your stuff - just a thought??” Not a bad thought at all.

I didn’t wear any jewelry except for my watch today, not even my engagement ring. Too scared.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Michy!


The Freedom Machine

Like many brave women before me, I have ventured into the field of classic bicycles and am well on my way to selecting the one for me. This all started at least 2 years ago when I was working at Moonee Ponds. I drove past a shop window that was showcasing two beautiful classic bikes, with a curved retro frame, headlights, wicker baskets, wide saddles and mud guards. I was in love! But I hadn’t ridden a bike for over 10 years. First things first – find out all about these bikes!

I discovered that they were “Italian Classic Bikes” and were out of my price range. I found an old racer on eBay which I began riding on summer weekends and soon got into the routine. I loved the freedom I felt riding to the city, Williamstown and along the Maribyrnong River to Highpoint.

Fast forward to May 2009 – the bike has been leading a quiet life in the garage and I happen to come across The Sartorialist, checking out the Bicycles section, I fell in love all over again. Those women just looked so carefree, healthy and stylish and I wanted to be one! I soon found myself catching up on RidingPretty –Bicycle Chic California, Girls and Bicycles, Lovely Bicycle!, Change Your Life. Ride A Bike! and EcoVelo and was hooked all over again.

I began the research, first step – start a spreadsheet of course! Beginning with the Electra Amsterdam, I sought one out at a bike shop in Williamstown only to find the Grand 1888 instead, I also discovered that Gazelle and Pashley are available her and came across the Indian Bicycle Shop in St Kilda.

I tried out the Grand 1888, love the upright style and the steadiness that comes with a heavier bike. Is this the one? I also trialed my friend’s shine red fixie from the Indian Bicycle Shop, nope – definitely need at least a 3 speed.

Last night we visited a brand new Pashley dealer and I’m looking forward to taking a Sonnet out for a spin on Saturday morning, tomorrow after work it’s off to Commuter Cycles to check out the Gazelle range. I just have to remember that I’m saving up for this with my weekend job so shouldn’t be taking delivery of any of these beauties until October!

On to accessories, I’ve been really impressed with Acorn Bags (they just don’t deliver to OZ), Basil and Queen Bee Creations. As for helmets – when are they going to bring something to Australia that doesn’t make me feel like I should be pedaling faster??

This morning’s pearl: AllIWannaDoIsSleep

Monday, June 15, 2009

Instant Karma - or not?

I thought I did everything right. Really, Saturday night was shaping up to be a excellent one – one of those ‘why don’t we do this more often’ occasions. We met friends at The Deck for pizzas, a few drinks and a spin on the dance floor. Being a chilly Melbourne night, we arrived all rugged up, only to find there was no cloak room. Worried about my beautiful rhinestone brooch that had become a much admired permanent fixture on my coat (and a gift from Travis which used to belong to his Grandmother) I removed it and put it straight into my handbag – asking Travis to watch me in case I freaked out later in the night that it was missing.

So we headed to the dance floor and enjoyed the nightlife until around 12:30, when I picked up my coat and bag and we wandered out into the night.

When we got home I fished around the black hole to return the brooch to its rightful place and “OH NO!” I couldn't find it! checked again, again and again. I emptied all the pockets and shook it upside down! Nada. It was like a bad dream – everything else was still in there (even Kate’s bracelet) so I don’t feel it was stolen. It was either a: knicked from my bag – the offender for some reason bypassing my mobile phone and Oroton purse or b: fell out of my bag when I retrieved my scarf as we left. Try as I might I can’t remember where I was standing when I grabbed my scarf (and no I wasn’t, I only had 4 glasses of wine).
So I called them Saturday night, they promised me they’d call if they found it.
And I called them Sunday morning, they promised again.
And I called again on Sunday afternoon, I was assured that although it hasn’t shown up yet, it might still be returned during the week. I haven't lost it. Yet.

Rewind back to my bus trip home on Friday night – I sat down to discover a red leather purse stuck down the side of the seat. I handed it to the driver straight away.

I can’t help but wonder, who the hell are these dishonest people?
Has all the karma been used up these days?
If … there was a cloak room would it be safe?
If … I’d pinned it to my dress would it be safe?
If … I’d left it on my coat would it be safe?

I walked around the entrance at lunchtime today in vain, they don’t open again until Thursday afternoon – I’ll be there. I hope I have some good news to share by the end of this week.

This morning's pearl of wisdom: 'WovIGottaDo'

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The weather outside is weather...

... and what better way to warm up a chilly week than to go swimsuit shopping with my favourite future sister in law! We hit the change rooms and stripped off the gloves, scarves and numerous other layers in the hope of finding a little bit of sunshine. And did we ever!
When we walked out of the store half an hour later, we could almost feel the sun's rays on our faces (and burning holes in our pockets!)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

En pointe

Thanks binababy12

I was very shy as a child – I remember my first classical ballet class in early primary school, our mums were watching from the side of the room as we followed the teacher’s directions. I was so shy - I ran over to mum and hid for the rest of the class. A few years later, my sister and I began jazz ballet, where I became more confident. For two years we participated in the community parade and the annual concert. In the first concert I was the birthday girl at a party and in the second one we were both sea urchins in The Little Mermaid. I remember mum sewing sequins all over our costumes.

I didn’t try ballet again until I found some local adult classes last year. I enjoyed feeling the stretch all over through my body but often ended up with cramps in my feet after pointing my toes for so long. My teacher suggested rolling my feet over tennis balls or as she used to do – glass coke bottles, to stretch them a bit more. This might have worked if I remembered to do it! My ballet days are over, but have found the same problem when doing yoga or body balance even though I really enjoy these classes – any other suggestions for me?

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